CULBURRA Beach's Owen Wright made a perfect start to his assault on the 2019 Pipeline Masters on Tuesday, by winning his opening round heat.
At the event, which is in memory of three-time world champion Andy Irons, Wright produced waves of 6.67, 1.27 and 0.37 - for a two-wave combined score of 7.94.
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Despite the six-to-10 foot (1.8-3 metre) waves at the world-famous Banzai Pipeline, on the North Shore of Oahu, this score saw the Culburra Beach Boardrider edge both countrymen Jack Freestone (4.90) and Italy's Leonardo Fioravanti (1.40).
Wright, who is wearing headgear during his time in Hawaii after suffering a head knock at the corresponding event in 2015, will face off with Brazil's Yago Dora in the round of 32 when surfing resumes at the final event of the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT).
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While Wright, who sits in seventh in the world rankings, is out of the 2019 world title race, a strong result at the final event of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, would go a long way to securing him a spot on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games team - alongside Gerroa's Sally Fitzgibbons.